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By 2040 just eight states – NC included – will hold 50 percent of U.S. population

An interesting piece in the Washington Post points to new population projections that show that by 2040, about half of the population of the United States will live in just eight states.

North Carolina is among them.

According to an analysis by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service of the University of Virginia, Census Bureau data suggests 49.5 percent will live in either North Carolina, California, Illinois, Florida, Georgia, New York, Pennsylvania or Texas.

What does that mean demographically and politically?

As the piece puts it:

“Thirty percent of the population of the country will control 68 percent of the seats in the U.S. Senate. Or, more starkly, half the population of the country will control 84 percent of those seats.

It’s self-evident that the 34 smaller states will be more rural than the 16 largest; a key part of the reason those states will be so much more populous is the centralization of Americans in cities. It’s true, too, that this movement to cities has reinforced partisan divisions in a process called the Big Sort.

The Weldon Cooper data, though, is less stark on the age differential. Eleven of the 16 most-populous states will have over-65 populations that are below the median density nationally. Twenty-two of the 34 less-populous states will have over-65 populations that are over the median density.

In the current political context, older voters means more Republican voters. By 2040, though, those 65-year-olds will be Generation X, a generation that currently skews more Democratic than the two generations that preceded it, according to a March study from the Pew Research Center. By 2046, even some millennials — a group that is much more Democratic-leaning — will be at retirement age (!!!).”

Read the whole piece here and the population projection data on which it is based here.

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